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Calgary Family Law Blog

Keeping a business safe in a high asset divorce situation

Entrepreneurs need to know a lot more about divorce than the average Joe or Jane. Some Alberta residents who have amassed a sizable amount of assets from a successful business and now find themselves embroiled in a high-asset divorce may want to keep a number of things in mind. Keeping a business safe from a potentially angry spouse means keeping a level head since a lot may be at stake financially.

High net worth people have particular challenges when it comes to divorce. But when spouses are also business partners, it can get especially messy. There are ways, however, to ensure that the business is not adversely affected by an impending divorce. Collaborative law and mediation may make the going easier -- much easier than the litigation process.

Alberta family law: The right and a not so right way to divorce

There is no road map for marriage and so, there is no road map for divorce, either. But Alberta family law sets out the rules that govern the legal uncoupling of a marriage. It doesn't, however, stipulate how a couple should act toward each other during the divorce process. But there is one a separating couple can do to make a tenuous situation more tolerable and ultimately less painful: treat each other fairly.

That may be difficult to do since couples who are divorcing are often doing so because they haven't always treated each other compassionately and fairly. But ending a marriage on a proper footing emotionally and financially may help the couple move ahead as individuals. When former spouses continue to bash each other, it weakens the dignity of each individual, not to mention the negative effects it could have on any children.

Family law solutions provide support for back to school time

It's a hectic time of year when kids are getting ready to head back to school. There are many changes on the horizon when starting a new grade, and those changes can seem even more challenging when kids whose parents have recently split up are back in class. Newly divorced parents in Alberta who share child custody of their kids may find this time of year particularly stressful, compounded by the fact of also being new singles. There are certain family law solutions that can help.

The first lesson outside of the classroom is for parents. They must put their kids first by positively co-parenting them. That means both parents need to take a proactive approach when helping their children to deal with the parents being newly divorced and the kids going back to school. Children thrive on routine and parents may be able to help their kids by planning ahead for things like homework and after-school activities. It never hurts to ask children what they would find interesting to do when the school day is done.

Family law: Marriage and common law unions distinctly different

A lot of couples who don't marry but who live together for many years mistakenly believe that the law automatically considers them married. Family law rules say that's not necessarily so and to continue to mistakenly think it is may be a huge mistake. For instance, in some provinces -- Alberta included -- if spouses who weren't married separate, they have no legal right to a share in their partner's property unless they're both title holders.

A partner can, however, launch an equitable claim to part of the property. In terms of other things like sharing of pensions, it's the same sort of scenario. An unmarried partner may not be entitled to anything, though a common law partner could launch an unjust enrichment claim in this regard. An astonishing 40 to 50 per cent of all couples in Canada separate, yet many are unaware of how the law handles separation of unmarried partners.

Family law: Separation doesn't change formal estate documents

Divorce legally changes a marriage, separation doesn't. Family law rules in Canada are clear about this. Couples who separate but don't go through with a formal divorce may be misguided about what happens when one partner dies. The ramifications can be stressful, especially if the person is in a relationship with someone else.

A separation doesn't automatically change estate documents that are already in existence such as a will or power of attorney. Old wills are still valid, unless the testator changes the contents. If changes aren't made and an estranged spouse is still named as a beneficiary, the person will end up with whatever the will indicates. This could leave a current partner with nothing. Any common law spouse would have a hard time contesting a current and legal will.

Family law: Divorce regret actually exists

Making the decision to divorce is never easy. There are family law tools available to Alberta couples who find themselves in this tenuous situation. Ending a marriage can be complicated as well as emotionally volatile. So, it may be wise to take some extra time to ask some very pointed questions that could mean the difference between staying together and finally throwing in the towel.

A survey in the United Kingdom queried 800 divorcees. More than 20 per cent of respondents said they wished they hadn't ended their marriages. Regret seems to be an issue for a lot of people when it comes to divorce and its finality. A registered psychotherapist and relationship coach suggest couples ask each other three pointed questions before making a final decision about ending their marriages.

Family law dispute: Sidestepping consent for child counseling

Children may have a difficult time processing the divorce of their parents. It may be helpful for kids to speak with a professional counselor in Alberta when they're having trouble dealing with their parents' breakup. But in the event of a family law dispute in which one parent doesn't agree with having a child speak to a therapist, the other parent may petition the court for permission,regardless of the dissension of the other parent.

The parent who believes his or her child would benefit from counseling has a couple of options to forgo the other parent's consent. He or she could obtain an order as part of a parenting or custody and access order or via a Queen's Bench Protection Order. If there is violence present in the family dynamic, the perpetrator may not wish the child to see a therapist because they don't want anyone to find out about any abuse that is occurring or has happened.

How cryptocurrencies figure into property division upon divorce

The divorce process has changed drastically within the last few decades. And with those changes in Canada, couples who are divorcing may find themselves with a whole new set of issues when it comes to property division. With the advent of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, divorcing couples may be wondering how these assets play into the scenario when figuring out who gets what.

The thing is, cryptocurrencies aren't overseen or produced by any governments, and only a certain amount will ever be available at one time. Those people who invested during the beginning of these currencies more than likely made a lot of money. So, what if that investment was made during the marriage? How is such a volatile asset looked upon by the courts?

Calculating self-employment income for child support in Canada

Children must be the first priority in a divorce situation. When one or both parents are self-employed, there are ways to calculate child support payments based on income according to family law in Canada. Child and spousal support calculations are usually based on income, so it can get a little tricky when the parent paying support is an entrepreneur. The courts want to see full financial disclosure.

People who are self-employed usually deduct business expenses from their income. For child and/or spousal support purposes, a court will ascertain whether some of those expenses are unreasonable and may tack those back onto income, which it will use to come to a support payment amount. If a judge feels that adequate disclosure of income hasn't been made, he or she can presume certain expenses were for the person's own benefit and include them as income.

Family law: Questions to ask prior to parting ways for good

When couples make the decision to end their marriages, they likely exhausted all avenues to keep it together. Family law rules in Canada don't make it mandatory that couples ask themselves hard-hitting questions before breaking up, but it may be a wise thing to do since divorce is the final nail in the coffin when it comes to ending a marriage. There are many things to consider – from children to finances.

An expert suggests there are three pertinent questions to ask a spouse before making that final call to formally end things. Firstly, individuals should ask each other and themselves if they'd be happier not being in the relationship. Secondly, if neither person likes who he or she has become in the relationship, that may be a huge red flag. If one person is giving more to make the other happy, perhaps it's time to re-evaluate things. Thirdly, what is each person willing to concede to make the relationship work?

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